We want to try and plan some impromptu pleasure drives throughout
the year which are in addition to drives already planned. If
you would like to be informed of any drives that may be arranged
during the year please send your email address to Pearl Hudson at
We are also looking for more venues to hold BDS drives, so if you
would like to host a drive can you also please let Pearl know. Even
if you can only cater for 2 or 3 turnouts it would be good to be
able to offer more drives to our members.
Springfield Farm, Rushlake
Green Drive Sunday 7th April 2019
It was a cloudy day
with no wind for the seven turnouts who took part in the drive from
Springfield Farm. This
is a particularly lovely venue as there is plenty of hard standing
on which to unbox. The
owners of the farm have very recently increased the size of their
yard and we all made good use of the space.
had planned three new routes of 6, 7 or 12 miles and provided maps
and directions as usual. Most
of the participants opted for the 6 mile route and 2 went all out
and did the 12 miles. All thoroughly enjoyed the drive which afforded a change of
scenery as the routes passed through woodland and farmland.
Drive 10th March 2019
This drive has to go
down in history as one of the windiest drives we have ever held.
One of our members was delayed as her road was blocked by a
neighbour’s shed which had been blown away and had landed on the
road. Two members
decid3d not to come as it was too windy but despite the unpleant
weather condition we did have nine turnouts and one rider.
We were very pleased to welcome Sue Nebbeling from Surrey
area and a new member from East Sussex, Sarah Otway.
drive encompasses the long 3 mile byway through Abbots Wood but only
two members decided to do it. All
of the others went on a shorter country road drive.
We had delayed the departure in the hope that the wind would
die down a bit which it did for a short while.
It was only when we were returning to Havenswold that the
wind started to gust again.
Everyone was pleased
to have arrived back safely and thoroughly enjoyed the buffet
refreshments provided by our host Dick Tanner.
This drive definitely
blew the winter cobwebs away.
Pevensey Drive, Sunday
16th September 2018
very kindly hosted another drive and we had 6 turnouts attend
including members from Kent and West Sussex.
The Autumn weather
was glorious. This
venue affords several routes. Four
turnouts went together in convoy led by Jane Parsons with Ben and
did the 12.9 mile route which crosses the centre of the Pevensey
marshes. The views here
are spectacular. The
other two turnouts went inland and did shorter drives.
back in good time to enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch generously
provided by Lynda.
Firle Park Lewes, Sunday 9th September 2018
We were very
fortunate again this year to be allowed to hold a drive from Firle
and our thanks are extended to Lord and Lady Gage for giving us
permission to access Firle Park.
11 turnouts took part with members from Kent, Surrey and West
Sussex as well as East Sussex.
We unboxed in Firle
Park itself and drove past Firle Place and through the picturesque
village of Firle before going off road on the Old Coach Road by-way.
Extensive maintenance had been carried out on the by-way since last
year and we were able to traverse its entire length. This took
us all along the bottom of the South Downs past the original
coaching inn (now a tea house) to Berwick where we turned round and
came back, arriving back into Firle Park though a private entrance.
Two of our members felt their ponies would not be able to do the
full 10 miles and were able to take a shorter route of 5 miles which
still took them off road and past the old coaching inn and back into
Havenswold Drive, Sunday 29th July 2018
weeks of wall to wall sunshine the weather finally broke on the
Sunday of our Havenswold drive.
Of the 10 turnouts that had booked, only 4 turned up and
braved the rainy weather.
This drive is particularly lovely at this
time of the year, as access to three interconnecting well maintained
by-ways gives a lovely countryside drive between hedgerows and
through ancient woodland. The
drive, although a bit damp, was still very enjoyable and everyone
arrived safely back to enjoy a buffet lunch kindly provided by our
host Dick Tanner.
Framfield Drive, Saturday 21st July 2018
Sue Page hosted a lovely summer evening drive from Framfield.
We had intended to incorporate a drive around New Place which
would have given us a 10 mile off road drive. However, due to
the hot weather and the fact that the ground would have been too
hard we decided to go for a shorter 6 mile country road drive
instead. It was a very tranquil and peaceful drive around the
There were only four turnouts which was a little
disappointing but understandable as it was too hot for many
especially if they had some distance to travel. Everyone had a
very enjoyable and relaxed drive and returned to some very welcome
refreshments provided by Sue.
Pevensey Drive, Sunday 1st July 2018
Our thanks go to
Lynda Baker-Beall for again hosting this drive from Little Downash
attended this drive on what must have been one of the hottest days
of the year. It was
lovely to have members from Kent and Surrey drive along with us too.
There were five
routes available most members took the 7 mile route around the
pretty Sussex village of Hankham.
Another member took a shorter route of 5 miles and one other
member took the route that went across the Pevensey marshes and
around the hamlet of Flowers Green.
Everyone had a lovely
drive and returned to a wonderful spread of refreshments kindly
provided by Lynda.
Summer Solstice Evening Drive, 21st June 2018
This event was first
held last year and as it proved popular we repeated it again this
year. Golden Cross
Equestrian was the venue and there were nine turnouts.
The weather was cooler than last year and that made it better
for the horses. Everyone
arrived at 6.30 pm and drove off individually or in small groups.
There was a choice of three fairly flat routes.
This is a particularly lovely drive as
part of it is off-road down a byway which can only be accessed
during the summer months. The rest of the route is through
country lanes and the picturesque historic village of Ripe, which
was at one time owned by King Harold who was killed in 1066 at the
battle of Hastings.
Chiddingly/Muddles Green Drive, Sunday 3rd June
As a result of having
to postpone our area show, originally scheduled for Sunday 3rd
June, we decided to hold an impromptu drive.
Copford Farm was a new venue kindly suggested by Claire
Cousens. It was an
excellent venue, which not only afforded safe parking in the shade
of some trees but also was well placed for a drive along leafy quiet
This drive offered up
5 routes of varying length from 11.5 miles down to 6 miles so that
everyone was catered for. All
of the routes were along quiet country lanes and passed through the
two picturesque villages of Chiddingly and Muddles Green.
We had eight
turnouts, two of which came from West Sussex, and we would have had
another three had they not had to cancel for various reasons.
Everyone had an
enjoyable, safe drive and it is hoped that we will be able to repeat
Maynards Fruit Farm Drive,
Ticehurst Sunday 13th May 2018
This was a new venue
for a drive and consisted of a short road drive of 2.2 miles and a
drive around the 60 acre fruit farm of 1.8 miles.
Participants could choose to do either or both as many times
as they wished. Seven
turnouts took part including one from West Sussex.
Everyone was given a map and instructions and there was an
aerial photograph of the fruit farm showing the selected route
around the fields, which missed out any boggy areas.
This tested the orienteering skills of the grooms.
The horses had a good workout too as the farm was hilly in
places. The fruit farm
was something different and very enjoyable too.
We would like to thank Cathy Millard who very kindly arranged
Springfield Farm, Rushlake
Green Drive Sunday 29th April 2018
We had 10 turnouts
for this drive, which was a new venue for 2018.
We were pleased to welcome members from West Sussex and Kent
along with some newcomers for East Sussex.
Most participants parked up along the expansive driveway with
only three chancing the field.
Fortunately the field was dry enough so no one needed to be
There was a choice of 3 routes available of
varying mileage and difficulty but everyone decided to do the 8.5
mile route and set off in three groups at different times.
Maps and clear directions showing photos of junctions were
provided to all grooms.
The route was hilly
in places but the views were outstanding at the highest point on the
route. Everyone arrived
safely back to Springfield Farm.
Our thanks go to our hosts Alastair and Vicky King for
allowing us to park.
Havenswold Drive Sunday 11th
There were five
turnouts and one rider for our first drive of the year from the
popular Havenswold venue.
It had been raining the night before and after the rain from
the previous week the off road tracks were very wet but still hard
under foot in most places. A
warm welcome was extended to a member from Kent and three new
members from East Sussex.
This is a lovely
drive, even on a wintry day, and nearly half of the drive is
off-road. The rain dried up and all the turnouts remained dry.
The sun made an appearance later in the morning and it felt
Jane Bellingham set out in the lead with
Reagan with Dick Tanner leaving last with Gypsy. On the way
back (due to taking a shortcut) Dick and Gypsy led the way home with
Jane and Reagan bringing up the rear.
Everyone arrived safely back to enjoy
the wonderful spread of refreshments provided by Dick Tanner and his
New Years Eve Drive Sunday 31st
Our usual New Years Day drive from Golden
Cross, held in conjunction with the Oaks Driving Club, was
rescheduled to New Years eve and held as a BDS event alone.
It was very cold and there were five turnouts for the 5 mile
drive. There was some torrential driving rain which most
turnouts who took part early on escaped. It was however a
quiet drive will very little traffic and all turnouts arrived safely
Windsor Park Drive Sunday 1st
Berkshire area had invited us again this year
to their lovely drive in Windsor Great Park.
Several of our members attended.
Torrential rain had meant that the route had to be altered
slightly from last year but it took us through some beautiful areas
of the Park and close to the monument of George III.
As before, at the end of the drive all whips received a
lovely rosette and all equines were given a carrot.
Thank you Martin Pink for organising another enjoyable and
successful drive at Windsor.
Diamond Anniversary Drive,
Firle Park Sunday 10th September 2017
Our diamond anniversary drive was held at Firle
Park by kind permission of Lord and Lady Gage.
There were 10 turnouts in total including members from Surrey
Torrential rain two days earlier had flooded
several parts of the Old Coach road byway making it impassable. So we changed the route to a 5 mile drive around Firle Park,
Firle village and part of the original coaching road which was not
flooded and fortunately enabled us to pass the old coaching inn
which is now a tea house.
All of the horses were impeccably behaved.
Some cattle had been put out into the Park the day before and
had congregated under some trees next to the path.
However, all of the horses passed them without incident.
On the way back, three of the turnouts decided
to stop off at the pub in Firle village and it was lovely to see the
horses and carriages side by side outside the pub as they would have
done in times gone by.
The plan was to do the 5 mile drive followed by
a short break and then repeat the drive.
However during the short break when Lord and Lady Gage came
down from Firle Place to meet everyone and for Lady Gage to present
commemorative diamond anniversary rosettes to all whips and grooms,
the heavens opened up yet again.
So the drive was not repeated.
It is hoped that next year we will be able to complete the
full length of the Old Coach road and will not be thwarted by the
weather. That said it
was still a thoroughly enjoyable and picturesque drive.
Fletching Picnic Drive and
Treasure Hunt Sunday 3rd September 2017
There were only four turnouts for the
Picnic Drive and Treasure Hunt held in Sue Page’s lovely woods at
Fletching. This was
rather a shame since members asked for this type of event last year.
The event started with an excellent 10 mile drive which wove
its way through unpopulated green lanes that meandered over the
rolling Sussex countryside. After
the drive followed a treasure hunt in the woods.
Members drove around a designated route looking for clues and
collecting treasures. It
was a test of the horses’ obedience after a long drive to stand
still while grooms dismounted to collect the clues.
Over a picnic lunch the clues were put together to name a
piece of the harness. Sounds
really easy but no one got the correct answer although there were
lots of suggestions as to what the solution was.
Thank you Sue for your efforts in providing a thrilling
drive, a thought provoking treasure hunt and a lovely venue for
Pevensey Drive Sunday 27th August 2017
As we were not able to organise a drive through
Sheffield Park as advertised, Linda Baker-Beall kindly offered her
premises as a meeting place for another drive across Pevensey
marshes. We had held an earlier drive at the beginning of July and as
there were several routes available members who had done one route
wanted to know what the other routes were like and so this gave them
the opportunity to drive a different route.
It was a very warm day for the six turnouts who
attended. Once again
Chris Grist from Surrey area joined us with her delightful miniature
horse Sophie. Gina
Jeffery led the start of the drive with Beau with participants
peeling off to do their chosen route out of the 5 possible routes
participants were equipped with map, directions and detailed
Everyone had a fabulous and safe drive and all
returned to a fantastic spread of sandwiches, cake and biscuits very
kindly provided by Linda Baker-Beall.
Havenswold Drive Sunday 23rd July 2017
rain gave way to a warm sunny day with a cooling breeze to help the
horses in their work.
There were 8 turnouts which were accompanied by 1 rider.
There is always a warm welcome for BDS members from other areas and
this time we were pleased to see two members from Surrey BDS.
Two of the turnouts set out on their own with the other six
following along altogether. Sue Page led the way with her pony
Lottie and as usual Lottie set up a good pace. Our host Dick
Tanner with Amber took the lead part way through the drive and kept
up a good pace for the remainder of the drive.
This is a lovely drive and we are very fortunate that during the
summer we can incorporate three off-road byways.
Once again we were delighted to an excellent venue at Havenswold,
Hailsham. Dick Tanner and his wife Mary made all the
participants very welcome and put on a wonderful spread after the
Pevensey Drive Sunday 2nd July 2017
Little Downash Farm was the meeting place for the start of this
drive. We all parked up in a field where we could safely unbox.
Nine turnouts arrived at the venue and we were very pleased to
welcome 3 turnouts from Surrey BDS.
There were five routes available ranging from 12.9 miles to 5
miles and everything in between. All grooms were given a
detailed map and instructions and all but the shortest route was
The longest route took participants on a tarmac road which
crossed the middle of the Pevensey marshes where they were able to
enjoy a full 360 degree view of the marsh. The other routes
took members away from the marsh and up into the Sussex countryside
with outstanding views of the South Downs.
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed whichever drive they had
done. The only negative comments were that they all wanted to
do the route they hadn't done. Perhaps next time.
Many thanks to our host Lynda Baker-Beal for letting us use her
excellent facilities at Little Downash Farm.
Summer Solstice Evening Drive Wednesday 21st June 2017
Following on from the hottest day of the year so far, what could be more perfect than an evening drive on a warm summer
There were three routes available ranging from 8.5 miles, 7 miles
and 6 miles. The seven turnouts started out at 7.00pm in the
evening from Golden Cross Equestrian Centre and followed along the
quiet country road down a long no through road and out onto a by-way
all in the shade under cover of trees and woodland. The routes
were all fairly flat with little hill work for the horses.
Everyone arrived back safely by about 9.00pm. So still had
time to get their horses home before it got dark. it was a
very peaceful and pleasant drive.
Framfield Drive Sunday 14th May 2017
Early rain gave way to warm spring sunshine for the 4 turnouts
and one rider. Jane Bellingham brought her two Clydesdale cobs
and drove them as a pair. This was their debut outing on a BDS
drive and they behaved perfectly.
This was going to include some off-road tracks but as there had
been a lot of rain the previous week the off road route around New
Place was not chosen by any of our members. Instead the four
turnouts who attended all decided to keep to the country lanes.
It was warm and sunny and the picturesque route wound its way
through farmland and through hamlets with outstanding views of the
Sussex countryside. There was even a spectacular watermill en route
where you could look down some 20 feet into the water below.
The drive was not without its exciting moments as three enormous
tractors were encountered. However all the horses were very well
behaved and passed them without incident.
Everyone arrived safely back to Sue Page's yard for some tea and
Havenswold Drive Sunday 12th March 2017
This drive was previously arranged to go from Framfield but as
the ground was too wet it was deemed unsuitable for parking and
therefore it was rearranged to the popular Havenswold
There were only five turnouts for this drive accompanied by two
riders. This was probably due to the weather forecasters
forecasting torrential rain for the whole
of the day. However, it was dry all day so a good drive was
had by all. The by-ways were firm underfoot despite some
earlier rain in the week and the drivers were able to safely canter
their horses through Abbots Wood.
Everyone arrived back to some hot refreshments provided by Dick
East Hoathly Drive Sunday 6th February 2017
A drizzly day greeted the eight turnouts for the East Hoathly
Drive. We were also joined by members from Kent and Surrey.
The eight carriages were accompanied by 3 riders and there was a
broad spectrum of horse breeds represented, from a miniature horse
and Shetland through to other native pony breeds up to Clydesdale
There were 3 routes available ranging from 4, 7 and 10 miles and
participants were given detailed maps and directions. Some members
set off in small groups and others went on their own. Everyone
arrived back safely and all arrived back at more or less the same
time despite the difference in drive mileage. Everyone had a safe
and thoroughly enjoyable drive.
Havenswold Drive Saturday 21st January 2017
This drive was held as part of Dick Tanner's birthday
celebrations. The sun shone and it was a clear bright day but
it was cold. The thermometer only measured 2C. However
some intrepid members turned out. There were six turnouts and
two riders. The dry weather did leave the paths through the
woods dry and apart from a couple of icy patches the going was
good. Several members were able to canter their horses and
give them a bit of a work out along the by-ways.
As the horses warmed up the whips and grooms cooled down and we
were all happy to get back for some hot refreshments provided by
Dick and Mary. Pearl had brought two birthday cakes one of
which she had decorated with a model of Dick driving his horse Bob
to his trolley. See the photos on the gallery.
Havenswold Drive 16th October 2016
There were only six turnouts for this lovely drive as some early
rain had deterred some members from attending. However by the
time everyone had arrived the sun had come out and stayed out for
the rest of the day. We were pleased to welcome some
members from the Kent area and a couple of members brought a sprightly
pair of British Spot ponies who made light work of the 10 mile drive
completing it in record time.
Nearly everyone did the full 10 miles taking in the Abbots wood
by-way. This is particularly lovely at this time of year as
the trees change into their golden mantel. Many members took
advantage of this secluded track and were able to safely canter
Everyone enjoyed the drive and the chat and refreshments
afterwards which were generously provided by the hosts Dick and Mary
Sheffield Park Drive 27th August 2016
It was a very hot day that greeted us for the second of our
drives through the lovely Sheffield Park Estate. Again members
from both Surrey and East Sussex turned up in their "Sunday
Best" to make a spectacle for the visitors to the Park.
There were 8 turnouts in all, ranging from a diminutive miniature
horse right up to a lovely pair of Clydesdales.
The drive was longer than before which was appreciated by our
members and several of them completed the route more than
once. It also had its hazards such as a flock of sheep that
had to be negotiated through and there was also a gate which
required the groom to get down and open to let the carriage through
and close afterwards. Those that practiced for their Le Trec
had no problem with this obstacle.
As on the previous drive in July, there were two drives one at
11.00am and the second at 14.30pm. This was so that a
spectacle was provided to the visitors of the Park both before and
Everyone had an enjoyable time and all received a rosette as
thanks for the effort made and as a memento of the day.
Our thanks go to the Sheffield Park staff who had not only
provided ample refreshments but had also planned a lovely route
taking in the original carriageway as planned by Capability Brown,
through cool woodland and out onto the scenic downland.